Aural Sculptors - The Stranglers Live 1976 to the Present

Welcome to Aural Sculptors, a blog aimed at bringing the music of The Stranglers to as wide an audience as possible. Whilst all of the various members of the band that have passed through the ranks since 1974 are accomplished studio musicians, it is on stage where the band have for me had their biggest impact.

As a collector of their live recordings for many years I want to share some of the better quality material with other fans. By selecting the higher quality recordings I hope to present The Stranglers in the best possible light for the benefit of those less familiar with their material than the hardcore fan.

Needless to say, this site will steer well clear of any officially released material. As well as live gigs, I will post demos, radio interviews and anything else that I feel may be of interest.

In addition, occasionally I will post material by other bands, related or otherwise, that mean a lot to me.

Your comments and/or contributions are most welcome. Please email me at

Sunday 24 July 2011

Under the Covers - The Monica Coghlan Single Sleeve

As previously mentioned in the introduction to the Reading Festival link, the band had produced a cover of the Kinks' 1964 classic 'All Day & All of the Night'. Unlike their earlier released cover of Bacharach and David's 'Walk On By' in which they took hold of the arrangement and truely made it their own, with 'ADAAOTN', whilst a very competent cover, I don't think that it added much to the song, being so faithful to the original. Nevertheless, it did provide them with their penultimate hit (96 Tears being the last).

Sounds 6th February 1988

If the single itself was unremarkable, the sleeve caused something of a stir. In the year prior to the record's release there had been a political scandal of the highest order involving a senior Tory politician, a prostitute, bribery and later perjury. All good stuff!

Here's a summary of the scandal, borrowed from the pages of Wikipedia:

One of Coghlan's clients, in September 1986, was Jeffrey Archer, then the Conservative Party's Deputy Chairman, whom she met in Shepherd Market, Mayfair. Aziz Kurtha, an Indian businessman, sold the story of Archer seeing a prostitute to a tabloid newspaper. On 24 October 1986, the News of the World filmed and audiotaped Michael Stacpoole, a representative of Jeffrey Archer, giving Coghlan £2,000 in £50 notes on Platform 3 of London's Victoria station to leave the country to avoid reporters. Coghlan earned £6,000 from the newspapers for taking part in the sting operation. Archer admitted to giving Coghlan travel funds, but sued the bolder Daily Star for printing that he and Coghlan had had sex for money.

During the trial, Coghlan broke down in tears repeatedly on cross-examination, but continued to assert the truth of the newspaper's story, dramatically calling Archer a liar in court. In other testimony she stated that she enjoyed her job as a prostitute, and defended her work with married clients, saying that "Half the time it keeps marriages together." She regretted that she couldn't go back to work after the trial. "Jeffrey Archer took everything away from me," she would later say. "I lost my home, my dignity, my self-respect, and any hope of a future."

The amount allegedly given by Archer to Coghlan, £2,000, is now known in English slang as "an Archer".

Sadly Ms Coghlan died of the injuries that she sustained in a car accident in 2001. In the meantime our Jeff served time in 2001, having been convicted of perjury committed  in at the time of the 1987 trial. He then had the audacity to foist upon the public another shite book on his time inside! My sympathies in this case lie firmly with Monica Coghlan. As for Jeff, now Lord Archer, he should be only be considered in the terms of what he has proven to be, a ruthlessly ambitious liar. Anyway, I digress.

On the back of the trial, the single sleeve was printed up.

Done in the style of one of the red top tabloid front pages (which as you can imagine devoted many column inches to the story!), it featured a portrait of Monica Coghlan with the catalogue number 'Vice 1'. The reference to 'See back for details' is a reference to a part of the trial in which Jeffrey Archer' spotty back was discussed!

Unfortunately the sleeve was withdrawn on the advice of lawyers, as reported in Strangled magazine and the tabloids themselves.

A small quantity of the withdrawn sleeve was made available to subscribers of the Stranglers Information Service (SIS).

At around the same time, SIS also produced a Monica Coghlan T-shirt featuring a different enhanced portrait along with the song title.

Although the Monica sleeve was withdrawn and the single release pushed back as a consequence, the controversy continued. The alternative sleeve featured an advent calendar style image in keeping with the Christmas time planned new release date. On show were the delights on offer in a brothel displayed in each of the buildings windows. I have to say that it all looked pretty tame to me at the time, but once again it brought the single to the attention of the national press. Well they do say that there is no such thing as bad publicity!

In the words of JJ Burnel in a Record Mirror interview at the time:
'The new sleeve is like an adult's advent calendar but instead of having a pixie and a fairy it's got a tit and a cock sucker - we had to take a few of those out'.

In the end the single was well received and reached number 7 in the UK charts in January/February 1988.

Saturday 23 July 2011

All change - The departure of Hugh Cornwell

I was not at the gig at Ally Pally which was to prove to be the last time that the classic line up would play together. That weekend, my brother-in-law got married in Whitehaven, Cumbria (almost the greatest distance that one can get from London whilst remaining within our borders!). Whilst Hugh was belting out the last Stranglers tunes that he would play for the next ten years, I was being 'entertained' by a septuagenarian covers combo playing 'Lady in Red'!

Adrian & Gunta, Cumbria Saturday 11th August

With hindsight I have no regrets whatsoever about missing this gig, regardless of its significance. People that were in attendance have long confirmed that as a swan song performance, this was no way to bow out. Perhaps Hugh was distracted, having made such a big decision, but this show did not reflect the excellent gigs from the '10' tour earlier in the year.

Hugh's last gig was on a Saturday night and from memory the news of the departure broke, either officially or non-officially within about two weeks. At the time I was working at the British Gas London Research Station in Fulham. On the day of this revelation any work plans went out of the window a national state of emergency was declared as in my head! Many calls were made until the the situation was verified.

In the days that followed, the discussions switched to the future of the band.... would the band call it a day, if they did decide to continue, would it be under the same name or something new?

The intention of the remaining members to carry on was confirmed in a quote from JJ in the music press reportage of Hugh's leaving. Another avenue of speculation then.... who's the new guy to be? I recall a number of rumoured candidates from Dave Vanian, Ian Dury, Ian McNabb and the singer from Johnny Hates Jazz. There was some degree of truth in some of the rumours, for some of the others I am not so sure.

Sounds 8th September 1990

So concerned was I about the future of the band that I felt compelled to write to the bass player. What for I do not really know, a little bit of reassurance I suppose. The possible demise of The Stranglers posed a very great threat to my relatively recently established social life involving the band.

JJ had the courtesy to reply (as always in my experience) stating his vocal concerns. I do not suppose that this was an indication of the loss of confidence in his vocal abilities that he experienced later. His singing was on top form at this point, remember, the excellent 'Un Jour Parfait' was little over a year old.

With this minimal reassurance, my confidence of a bright future for the band took a further knock with the band's unconvincing performance on Youth TV's enfante terrible, The Word. For those who don't know, The Word was a chaotic, post-pub, magazine show that ran on The UK's Channel 4 from 1990 to 1995. In my opinion, this was a poor choice of platform for a Stranglers live TV appearance..... but I'll let you decide.

'Something Better Change'
The Stranglers (Post-Hugh) The Word, Channel 4 in 1990

Portsmouth Guildhall 13th March 1990

1990 saw the band touring on the back of '10'. Whilst the album is very patchy, and in my opinion, the weakest produced by the Mk I line up, the set that the band toured this year was excellent. Classics such as 'I Feel Like A Wog', 'Shah Shah A Go Go' and 'Straighten Out' were back in along with a theatrical version of 'School Mam'.

On this tour, which included a couple of brilliant nights at one of the greatest of London venues, the Brixton Academy, there was no indication of the bombshell that Hugh Cornwell was to drop in August after the bands appearance at Alexandra Palace.


The tour produced some great quality recordings of which this is one of the best. Thanks to Dom P for the remastering!

01. Intro
02. Shah Shah a Go Go
03. I Feel Like a Wog
04. Straighten Out
05. Shakin'  like a Leaf
06. 96 Tears
07. Someone Like You
08. Sweet Smell Of Success
09. Always the Sun
10. Ships That Pass In The Night
11. Peaches
12. Where I Live
13. School Mam
14. Let's Celebrate
15. Uptown
16. Tank
17. Was It You?
18. Down in the Sewer
19. Nuclear Device
20. Duchess
21. No More Heroes
22. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
23. All Day And All Of the Night
24. Punch and Judy

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Livingston Forum Scotland 10th June 1989

As a relative late comer to the band, I saw them 17 times with Hugh at the helm. Of course, at the time I was of the opinion that every gig they played was nothing short of brilliant. Now though looking back it is clear that there were gigs where the four of them were going through the motions, turning in performances that were decidedly lacklustre. Their appearance at the Livingston Forum was certainly not one of those occasions. I have stated on various sites in the past that this was the best gig that I saw them play with Hugh. I recall heat and bodies littering the foyer outside the auditorium as people were becoming overcome by the heat in the place. I am also sure I recall the owner of the venue dispairing 'Wha' have yoos done to ma club!' as he surveyed the scene. The band too were conscious of the fact that this was a great night, Hugh declaring from the stage 'Now this is what I all a gig!'.

There is some more information on our travels around the country over this particular summer weekend that myself, Paul Cooklin and Graeme Mullan put together for Finchley Boy, Al Hillier's site. Take a look here if you're interested.

1. All Day And All Of The Night
2. Bring On The Nubiles
3. Uptown
4. Peaches
5. Someone Like You
6. Spain
7. Always The Sun
8. Nice N Sleazy
9. Where I Live
10. Ships That Pass In The Night
11. Shakin Like A Leaf
12. Toiler On The Sea
13. The Raven
14. Who Wants The World
15. Grip
16. Was It You?
17. Down In The Sewer
18. Golden Brown
19. Hanging Around
20. Nuclear Device

Full artwork here:

Sunday 17 July 2011

The Damned Amnesty Festival of Youth Milton Keynes Bowl 19th June 1988

A brief, but not unrelated deviation. Here is the Damned set from the Sunday. Of note is the appearance of Joey Ramone for a version of Blitzkrieg Bop.

I remember being at the front for this one, in agony as a consequence of the sunburn I had got from being shirtless the day before (this was back in the day when I would take my shirt off in public!)

Many thanks to the original uploader for this one.


1. See Her Tonite
2. Neat Neat Neat
3. Fish
4. Help!
5. New Rose
6. I Feel Alright
7. I Just Can't Be Happy Today
8. Noise Noise Noise
9. Love Song
10. Smash It Up (Part 1&2)
11. Blitzkrieg Bop (With Joey Ramone)
12. Looking At You
13. The Last Time
14. Pre-Gig Interview

Full artwork here:


Saturday 16 July 2011

Amnesty Festival of Youth Milton Keynes Bowl 18th June 1988

The name of the festival is indeed a bit of a misnomer. The Stranglers, The Damned, Aswad, BAD, Joe Strummer etc. It was however a fantastic line up for a young punk as I then considered myself to be.

A group of four of us set out from Sussex in a mates clapped out banger. We had doubts whether it has the 100 or so mile journey in it and those doubts proved to be reasonable. The car broke down and a parent had to pick us up only to drop us off back at our local for moans and beers. The journey was reattempted next day, this time by the marginally more reliable British Rail and we eventually made it to the Milton Keynes Bowl in blazing sunshine.

Endured Aswad and good God.... Howard Jones before Strummer and The Stranglers. A good sounding set with the exciting inclusion of the B-side 'Vietmanerica' and a rare opportunity for Dave Greenfield to express his vocal talents on 'Peasant in the Big Shitty'.

So, here's the Stranglers doing their bit for Charidy mate. Do enjoy!



01. Intro
02. Always the Sun
03. Spain
04. Uptown
05. Peasant in the Big Shitty
06. Toiler on the Sea
07. Northwinds
08. Vietnamerica
09. Strange Little Girl
10. The Raven
11. All Day And All Of the Night
12. Shakin' like a Leaf
13. Big in America
14. Tank
15. Was It You?
16. Down in the Sewer
17. Nuclear Device
18. Punch and Judy

Here's the full artwork:

Reading Festival 30th August 1987

Early 1987 saw a second leg of last autumn’s Dreamtour, including three excellent nights at the Hammersmith Odeon (two of which were recorded and will in time find there way onto this blog).

But it was the band’s appearance at the 1987 Reading Festival that was perhaps the live highlight of the year. The Reading Festival had for years been primarily a ‘metal’ festival, which accounts for Hugh’s introduction to ‘Golden Brown’. However, the festival was in transition at this point, in the early ‘90s it could be considered to be more of an indie festival.

The Stranglers played a great set ahead of the appearance of Alice Cooper (Cooper’s drum soundcheck on the adjacent stage, part way through the Stranglers’ set, caused some needle on the day. It is worth noting that this was the first airing of another cover, this time the Kinks ‘All Day and All of the Night’ which was to be the band’s next single. Without doubt ADAAOTN is a great song, but one I would like to see dropped from the set….. in favour of La Folie perhaps!

It was at this gig that I met one Steve Tyas. Later after placing an add in Strangled we got back in touch and I am pleased to say that we are still in touch and perhaps more importantly still seeing the Stranglers 24 years later!

So, here are two edits of the gig. The first is the full set, the second a 1 hour BBC Radio 1 ‘In Concert’ broadcast. The last song on the radio broadcast version, ‘Toiler on the Sea’ was also broadcast by the BBC, same gig but with this song added in place of another.



Full set bootleg

1. No More Heroes
2. Was It You?
3. Down In The Sewer
4. Nice In Nice
5. Punch And Judy
6. Souls
7. Always The Sun
8. Strange Little Girl
9. Golden Brown
10. North Winds
11. Big In America
12. Nice N Sleazy
13. Who Wants The World
14. Bring On The Nubiles
15. Shakin Like A Leaf
16. Uptown
17. Tank
18. Toiler On The Sea
19. Spain
20. All Day And All Of The Night
21. London Lady

BBC Radio 1 'In Concert' Broadcast

1. No More Heroes
2. Was It You?
3. Down In The Sewer
4. Nice In Nice
5. Punch And Judy
6. Souls
7. Always The Sun
8. Strange Little Girl
9. Golden Brown
10. North Winds
11. Big In America
12. Nice N Sleazy
13. Who Wants The World
14. Bring On The Nubiles
15. Spain
16. All Day And All Of The Night
17. Toiler On The Sea (Alt Broadcast)

No More Heroes on Friday Night Live 28th February 1987

Friday Night Live (Channel 4 UK TV) was reason enough to come back from the pub before last orders on a Friday night. It was simply the best thing on TV at the time. Hosted by Ben Elton, before he started writing stage shows about Queen and Rod Stewart, when his material was quite dangerous, FNL featured nearly every 'alternative' cemedian of the day. Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Ade Edmonson, Rik Mayall all appeared along with genuine heroes of comedy such as Peter Cook and Barry Humphreys. Music also featured and much to my delight, one evening The Stranglers performed their new single 'Shakin' Like A Leaf' (later officially released on The video 'The Men In Black In Colour') and 'No More Heroes' which appears here....

No More Heroes
Friday Night Live 28th February 1987

Wembley Arena 3rd November 1986

The Dreamtour, promoting this year's new studio album Dreamtime. I did not go to this gig on principle, it being at the cavenous, and to my mind, souless aircraft hanger that is Wembley Arena. My loss I suppose as the gig was a good one. On this night I also missed the additional support of one Gerry Arkwright, a self confessed northern industrial gay (Mr Arkwright was in fact Keith Allen). This was a bit of a Stranglers masterstroke in that I think Allen achieved exactly what the band wanted him to do, that is to wind up the predominantly male, footie, birds and booze audience (or at least a proportion of the audience) to the point of near violence. All good stuff!!

The Dreamtour saw the band playing the sublime 'La Folie'..... please bring it back into the set Mr Burnel.

This is a nice sounding recording that represents the Dreamtour very well I think.



1. No More Heroes
2. Was It You?
3. Down In The Sewer
4. Nice In Nice
5. Punch & Judy
6. Souls
7. Always The Sun
8. La Folie
9. Strange Little Girl
10. Golden Brown
11. Nice N Sleazy
12. Who Wants The World?

1. Big In America
2. Bring On The Nubiles
3. Shakin Like A Leaf
4. Uptown
5. Tank
6. Toiler On The Sea
7. Spain
8. Peaches
9. Duchess
10. London Lady

Full artwork here:

Tuesday 12 July 2011

The Dickies, The Underworld, Camden, London 22nd July 2009

Saturday night sees the return of the Dickies to the London stage. If you are in London on the night or have yet to have the pleasure of an evening in the company of the Dickies then I really urge you to make the effort. The Dickies are the only band without exception that have never proved to be a disappointment on the many occasions that I have seen them live. Never a half-hearted show in all those times.

Their 'Clown Princes of Punk' label detracts from their obvious musicianship and the excellent quality of their original material. It's not just 'The Banana Splits' and 'Nights in White Satin' you know!

As a taster for Saturdays gig, here's a fantastic bit of footage from their last London appearance at the Underworld on 22nd July 2009. The clip, shot by my mate Chris Braund, requires some explanation.

This was the first night of a UK/European tour. The band play in their set a song called 'If Stuart Could Talk.... What Would He Say?'. In short it concerns the scenario where the lead singer's (Leonard) penis (Stuart) could have a dialogue with him about his conduct and treatment of his dick! In the song Stuart is a penis puppet that may or may not be controlled by Leonard. Come to the point in the set where Stuart makes his appearance, some twat in the audience gets a bit biosterous and takes it upon himself to take Stuart. Grabs are made and avoided by Stuart's owner and good humoured warnings are conveyed. This to no avail. Eventually the twat succeeds, with the upshot that Stuart's testicles are left hanging by a sinue.

It is at this point (and captured marvellously in the clip, see c. 3 minutes in) that an extremely knobbed-off (quite literally) Leonard launched into the audience to 'discuss' the problem with the twat.

Now, for a band known for the theatrical and visual elements of their shows, I understand Leonard's anger. But still to see a man in his 50's in orange slacks leap into a melee in the crowd to protect his penis tells me that punk will never really die and remains one of the funniest sights I have witnessed at a gig!!

If Stuart Could Talk
The Dickies
Camden Underworld 22nd July 2009

Stuart and Leonard in Happier Times

Monday 11 July 2011

Brighton Centre UK 4th March 1985

Generally my plan is to post gigs that have not often appeared on the web. This one has, but I make no excuses since this was my first live experience of The Stranglers. I have several versions of this recording, but this, the best, comes courtesy of Dom Pilgrim (cheers!).

The gig was 16 days prior to my 16th birthday. In recognition of what this evening meant to me, my parents presented me with my present early, a black biker jacket. Suitably attired and wearing roughly the same quantity of eyeliner that JJ has on Rattus, me and a mate took the short train journey from Burgess Hill to Brighton.

The Gods must have been looking down favourably upon us on this evening as once in the venue I was able to get a couple of pints (not always possible as I was so small!). The support was abysmal, puppets have never been my thing. But then Vladimir and the Beast came over the PA and we were up and running... Something Better Change, Nuclear Device, Toiler, Sleazy, this was the life! At one point someone threw a shoe at Burnel which was returned with some force. Intro to Peaches cocked up to much jeering, again provoking a response from the bass player. I felt that at this time, whilst ultimately very professional, the band had a much easier rapport with the audience than in the years that followed when they became a lot more polished and less engaged with the crowd.



  1. Something Better Change
  2. Nuclear Device
  3. Uptown
  4. Dead Ringer
  5. No Mercy
  6. Souls
  7. Nice"N"Sleazy
  8. Let Me Down Easy
  9. Midnight Summer Dream
  10. European Female
  11. Golden Brown

  1. Strange Little Girl
  2. Peaches
  3. Death And Night And Blood
  4. Threatened
  5. Punch And Judy
  6. Hanging Around
  7. I Feel Like A Wog
  8. Down In The Sewer
  9. Nubiles (Cocktail Version)
  10. Toiler On The Sea
Full artwork here:

Aural Fantasy (Aural Sculpture/Dreamtime Demos)

To make up for the uploading limitations of 1984, here's a bootleg collection of demo recordings that later went on to appear on the Aural Sclupture, Dreamtime albums and associated B-sides (well most of them did).

As a fan, this period was very important for me as although I had bought most of the singles from Golden Brown onwards, by the time that Skin Deep appeared and then Aural Sculpture I was in the 5th form and I had become very analytical about music (in a way that only 15/16 year old boys can be). To this end I remember vividly pouring over the lyrics to Aural Sculpture on the back seat of of the school bus for weeks. I mean, Christ how much meaning can you put into Mad Hatter.... but in my defence I was hormonal!!

Looking back on this time now, it is clear to me that whilst it had it's moments AS was rather flawed in some respects (and sorry to say it with AS along came the brass, which never did it for me). I really do believe that some of the material that was relegated to B-sides was stronger than some of the tracks that made the album cut (Here & There, Head on the Line).

See what you think of this then.


  1. Skin Deep
  2. Punch & Judy
  3. Head On The Line
  4. In One Door
  5. Hitman
  6. Shakin’ Like A Leaf
  7. La Bete
  8. Mayan Skies
  9. Nice In Nice
  10. Always The Sun
  11. Ghost Train
  12. You
Full artwork here:

Sunday 10 July 2011

Philipshalle Dusseldorf 21st December 1984

So we reach the dread year of 1984. Big Brother may have been watching you but he sure as hell wasn't watching the Stranglers this year unless he was in the vicinity of the Philipshalle in Dusseldorf the week before Christmas because this was the bands only appearance of the year. A good quality short set (the event was part of a festival hence a 9 song performance). Short maybe, but notable for the German translation of the Aural Sculpture Manifesto and a fair smattering of new songs that would hit the road in the early spring of 1985 on The Aural Sculpture tour.

MP3 (as received):

  1. Aural Sculpture (German Version)
  2. Midnight Summer Dream/European Female
  3. Ships That Pass In The Night
  4. Let Me Down Easy
  5. Punch And Judy
  6. Peaches
  7. Skin Deep
  8. No Mercy
  9. Uptown
  10. The Raven

JJ Burnel & Dave Greenfield Fire & Water Outtakes 1983

OK, here's the first appearance of a MIB side project and it's a good one. The project was commissioned as a film soundtrack. The film title was Ecoutez Vos Murs (Listen To Yor Walls). I have never seen this film but in JJ's own words it's a very weird film. I used to have a comtemporary interview with JJ from Oslo radio where he discussed this project briefly, but I can't lay my hands on it (anyone got it?).

Personally I love this album and suggested that some of this material would be excellent as a set at the November Convention. I would go further and suggest that a track like Nuclear Power would fit perfectly into a Stranglers set.

Take a look at this article penned by Chris Twomey for all the background on the Fire & Water album (extract from Strangled Vol. 2 No. 16).



01 Trois Pédophiles Pour Eric Satie 1
02 Détective Privé (instrumental)
03 Rain & Dole & Tea (instrumental)
04 Introduction 1
05 Dino Rap (instrumental)
06 Vladimir & Sergei (instrumental)
07 Trois Pédophiles Pour Eric Satie 2
08 Liberation (french version)
09 Trois Pédophiles Pour Eric Satie 3
10 Conséquences
11 Introduction 2
12 Le Soir
13 Trois Pédophiles Pour Eric Satie 4
14 Rain & Dole & Tea (french version)
Full artwork here:

Saturday 9 July 2011

John Cooper Clarke John Peel Session 3rd October 1978

.... and here's some old school John Cooper Clarke.


01 Health Fanatic
02 I Married A Monster From Outer Space
03 Reader's Wives
04 Split Beans

An Evening with John Cooper Clarke

Right, I'm changing tack a bit here. As much as I love the Stranglers, and contrary to what many people think, I listen to other stuff too!

So, a few week ago it was Father's Day and my wife asked whether I would be interested in going to see John Cooper Clarke in Cambridge rather than receive socks/pants/shirt etc on the Sunday. I readily agreed, so on the Saturday night, Gunta, Rudi and myself found ourselves in the very intimate surroundings of The Junction 2 for an evening of poetry.

The entertainment kicked off with a 'set' from Essex poet Luke Wright before the entrance of JCC. I had seen John a few times in the past, including his support slot for the Stranglers at the Roundhouse in 2007. His performance this time around was much longer that I had seen before and the he performed a roughly 50:50 mix of his poety and stand up. A few of the 'hits' were there, but the majority of the material was new to be. An example clip of what JCC in 2011 is included below. The evening rounded off with 'Evidently Chickentown' which ably demonstrated to my 13 year old son that poetry doesn't have to be about love and daffodils! Those that know it will understand.

John Cooper Clarke in Cardiff 2011

Palais D'Hiver Lyon 13th October 1983

The Stranglers had not stayed musically static since the release of the 'Black and White' album in 1978. It is true to say that the Stranglers' fan base has over the years been challenged, perhaps even provoked, by the band as they have explored new musical avenues album to album. Never was this challenge more obvious than with the release of a predominantly acoustic album 'Feline'. The subtleties of the album sent many dyed in the wool punk followers back in search of their Discharge albums. However, this more laid back style was certainly not reflected in the band's touring schedule for 1983 which saw them playing the UK, the US and Canada as well as criss-crossing mainland Europe.

A consequence of this heavy gigging is that 1983 is very well documented, with a host of good quality recordings from all parts of the Feline Tour. This is a fine example from Lyon (their second visit of the year, having played the same venue on 27th February).

As well as being a great gig, this show was notable for what has become known as 'the banana incident', where the band metered out some rough justice to a troublesome punter by sticking a banana up his arse! This can be heard on track 6 of the second disc.



1. Aural Sculpture
2. Down In The Sewer
3. Toiler On The Sea
4. Ships That Pass In The Night
5. Its a Small World
6. No More Heroes
7. Who Wants The World
8. Never Say Goodbye/Golden Brown
9. Midnight Summer Dream

1. The European Female
2. The Raven
3. 5 Minutes
4. Tank
5. London Lady
6. The Banana Incident
7. Bring On The Nubiles
8. Hanging Around

Ipswich Gaumont 5th February 1982

There's not too many good examples from this period, the second leg of the La Folie tour. The best unofficial recording that I have is this one which was released as a bootleg in the early 80's as 'The Men They Love to Hate' LP. Good sound, but unfortunately not the full set. Those looking for the best quality recording from this tour should seek out the BBC archive album 'Live at the Hammersmith Odeon 1981'. The title is misleading as this album was recorded at the venue on 8th February 1982. The La Folie gig sets were great, featuring as they did several tracks from the massively underated album of the same title. As of 2011, 'Tramp' has reappeared in the set, but we continue to wait on other tracks to be revisited (please note, I am ignoring the omnipresent 'Golden Brown' here).


  1. Intro
  2. Down In The Sewer
  3. Just Like Nothing On Earth
  4. Second Coming
  5. Non-Stop
  6. The Man They Love To Hate
  7. Golden Brown
  8. How To Find True Love And Happiness In The Present Day
  9. Tank
  10. Let Me Introduce You To The Family
  11. Tramp
  12. The Raven
  13. Nuclear Device
Full artwork here:

Friday 8 July 2011

Something Better Change Capital Radio (London) Ads July 1977

Here's a bit of light relief from all of that MIB/UFO doom and gloom. These are two promotional radio ads that ran on the main London commercial station Capital Radio in July 1977. Certainly not politically correct, but hey, were are in the mid '70s here and talking The Stranglers. Enjoy.

Thanks to Owen for this one (many moons ago).

Thursday 7 July 2011

Stages/Metro Chicago 23rd November 1980

1980 is upon us and the horizon continues to darken for the Stranglers as the first tracks that will eventually appear on their strangest (but strangely brilliant album for all that), ‘The Gospel According to the Men In Black’. The band look to breaking America with an extensive, but ultimately ill-fated, stateside tour (the band’s uninsured equipment is stolen after an appearance at the Ritz Club in New York).


  1. Shah Shah A-Go-Go
  2. Toiler On The Sea
  3. I Feel Like A Wog
  4. Bring On The Nubiles
  5. Hanging Around
  6. Down In The Sewer
  7. Who Wants The World
  8. 5 Minutes
  9. Just Like Nothing On Earth
  10. Duchess
  11. Tank
  12. Nuclear Device
  13. Genetix
  14. Threatened
  15. The Raven
  16. Four Horsemen
  17. Dead Loss Angeles

Full artwork here:

Wednesday 6 July 2011

A Day in The 2 Tone City

Last Sunday the family headed upto my wife's home town of Coventry, to spend a day at their excellently organised free Godiva Festival in the city's Memorial Park. Playing in the afternoon was local musician Anthony Harty (playing with the Expensive Musicians). Anthony is currently playing with The Selecter (and has previously played with a host of bands including The Style Council, The Specials and The Special Beat). He played much of his new album 'Baggage' with help from one Horace Panter on bass and Mike Roberts (ex-King) on keyboards. The set featured an excellent version of the SC's 'Shout to the Top' as well.

With Horace on stage and Anthony's involvement with The Selecter, their was a fair chance for some 2-Tone faces to be around on the day, so I armed with camera and a couple of bits of black and white memorabilia. Two-Tone means a great deal to me and my wife, so much so that we 'lumbered' our son with the name Rudi!

The hunch paid off and we got the photos that we were looking for.

All credit to Coventry for putting such a three day event on.

Horace Panter (a.k.a. Sir Horace Gentleman - and he certainly is!) on stage.

Me (Adrian), Rudi and Horace Panter 3rd July 2011

Rudi, Pauline Black & Arthur ‘Gaps” Hendrickson of The Selecter 3rd July 2011

Guildford University Surrey UK 19th October 1978

This is a gem of a recording, short but with a great pedigree. Filmed as part of the BBC’s ‘Rock Goes To College’ series, which unsurprisingly featured name UK bands playing various UK academic institutions, it was in their home town of Guildford that the Stranglers committed TV suicide and crossed swords with the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Seriously pissed off that their request that 50% of the ticket allocation be made available for non-students had not been honoured, the band laid into their predominantly student audience with relish. The gig culminated after Hanging Around with the Hugh Cornwell line ‘Guilford University never represented Guildford. We hate playing to elitist audiences, so fuck off.’

  1. Ugly
  2. I Feel Like A Wog
  3. Bring On The Nubiles
  4. Burning Up Time
  5. Hanging Around

A censored clip of ‘Hanging Around’ later featured on the BBC’s ‘Sounds of the 70’s’ series, whilst more recently, footage of ‘Ugly’ has surfaced on YouTube. I hope it is not long before the full version of this short gig makes it into general circulation as it really does capture the band at their punk height.

'Ugly' Rock Goes To College October 1978

In the wake of the aborted TV gig, the music press were quick to pillory the band in print as exampled in this article from the 21st October issue of UK music weekly Sounds:

The Top Rank Sheffield UK 19th October 1977

Next up is a good sounding set from the Autumn Tour of ’77 (No More Heroes). The Drones supported on this night. The best of the crop for this year must be the recording at the Roundhouse of 6th November (tracks appear on Live X-certs) and the officially released (although now deleted) Live at the Hope & Anchor, the so called ‘Front Row Festival’ which featured many of the stalwarts of the London pub rock scene recorded at the famous Islington boozer over the period of Tuesday 22nd  November and Thursday 15th  December 1977.

  1. No More Heroes
  2. Ugly
  3. Bring On The Nubiles
  4. Sometimes
  5. Dagenham Dave
  6. Dead Ringer
  7. Hanging Around
  8. 5 Minutes
  9. Something Better Change
  10. I Feel Like A Wog
  11. Straighten Out
  12. Burning Up Time
  13. London Lady
  14. Peaches
  15. Grip

The Nashville Rooms London 10th October 1976

Here is the first gig post. Whilst undoubtedly the band’s heaviest gigging year, 1976 is not well represented recording-wise. The best recording that has surfaced to date is the set from the Patti Smith support slot at the Hammersmith Odeon on 23rd October (i.e. two weeks after this Nashville gig). Early recordings were made by UA for a possible live debut album, following on from the success of Dr Feelgood’s ‘Stupidity’ album that went to No. 1 that year, but these have yet to see a release... God knows what E.M.I. are waiting for!




  1. Grip
  2. Sometimes
  3. Bitching
  4. Peasant In The Big Shitty
  5. Hanging Around
  6. Peaches
  7. Ugly
  8. London Lady
  9. Down In The Sewer
  10. Walk On By
  11. Go Buddy Go

Monday 4 July 2011


OK, here's the deal for the first posts. Starting from the early days of the band's history, I have selected one recording from each year, which to my mind is representative of the Stranglers at that time and at the same time is acknowledged to be of superior sound quality for the given year.

I hope that you enjoy them....